Tetsuko Kuroyanagi says residents’ opinions should be respected in Henoko, Article 9 should not be changed

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi says residents’ opinions should be respected in Henoko, Article 9 should not be changed

Tetsuko Kuroyanagi serving as an instructor on Shimpo Women’s Salon. She spoke about her experience traveling to Africa, Iraq and Afganistan as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF at the Ryukyu Shimpo Hall in Izumizaki, Naha City in 2004.


January 3, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Yoko Shima

Recently, the Ryukyu Shimpo interviewed Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, 83, who serves as a female Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF (the United Nations Children’s Fund), and she told us about her concern for Okinawa and the importance of peace. Regarding the planned construction of a new U.S. base in Henoko, Nago City, which is being pushed forward by the Japanese government in conjunction with the planned return of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Kuroyanagi prefaced her statement by saying that Okinawa’s problems are difficult, then said, “I think the opinions of the people who live there should be respected. If people in Okinawa are saying they do not want it, it should not be built.”

Kuroyanagi said she is aware that Okinawans expressed their opposition to the construction of a new base in Henoko in the Okinawa gubernatorial election, Nago mayoral election, and various other elections, and said, “I think the opinions of the people who live there should be respected. No matter what happens. If people in Okinawa are all saying they do not want it, it should not be built.”

“If such a beautiful ocean is harmed, I feel sorry for the dugong. If there is an option [of not building the base], it wouldn’t have to happen,” said Kuroyanagi.

Regarding constitutional revision, Kuroyanagi said, “I’m worried about the movement to change the constitution, which positions Japan as a country that absolutely does not engage in war and takes pride in that stance.” In particular, regarding Article 9, she spoke passionately, saying, “The peace constitution absolutely should not be changed. Three million people died in the last war we fought. That included young people with futures ahead of them.”

Kuroyanagi also talked about her experience in her later years of elementary school of the Tokyo firebombing and evacuating to Aomori. “There was nothing to eat and I lost weight because of malnutrition, and I got a rash all over my body. It was from protein deficiency. When I travel around the world for UNICEF activities I see many malnourished children. My own experience is one of the reasons I became a Goodwill Ambassador,” said Kuroyanagi. “I hope to be a Goodwill Ambassador until I am 100 years old.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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